Funny The Things We “Think” When We Leave

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I arrived back in California early in the morning. I had nothing at my home. No beds, no chairs, no spoons…no nothing… except lots of memories and heartache. This is the house where I first separated from B and the place I would leave in order to “rekindle” my hopes and dreams about our marriage. And it hurts to know that soon I will return as single person after 32 years of togetherness tricked into believing in a carefully crafted mirage. But I digress…

The only thing that was open at 12:30 a.m.  was a Walmart in a town about an hour away from my house.  I stopped. If you have ever been to a Walmart at that time of the day it is depressing. The buzz of the automatic floor cleaners greeted me while nary a person could be found. Silence permeated a place that usually roars during the hours of 8 a.m.- 10 p.m. It reminded me of the hours that teens spend locked away in their rooms avoiding their parents.

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I wandered through the aisles in a daze…on a autopilot…aware…but not really…of what I was doing. It was as if I was looking through glass…seeing the light shining through but what was behind the glass was GONE. There was nothing to look back on and no future to look towards. Just a vast empty place…the place where my heart once beat rapidly whenever I saw B. A place of comfort and security. A place that no longer existed except inside my head.

Soon I came to the aisle loaded with dishes, cups, and silverware of every shape and color. I picked up one of each thing to put in my cart and then, just as quickly, put them back onto the shelf. I just couldn’t commit to anything permanent. The bowl in my left hand seemed too weighty, too purposeful. Even though this is what I needed…TO BE GONE…it didn’t seem real and I wasn’t even sure that I wanted it to be true yet. It felt like a commitment to being forever single and baking lots of bread that I cold never consume all by myself.

“Maybe living back in my fantasy of how it once was is better than how it is now,” I thought as I fought back tears.

So I headed over to the paper goods with a mission. It’s a place full of throwaways…things to dispose of…items not to be kept forever… just like my marriage. It felt comfortable but sad. Cheap plastic cutlery, paper plates, and red DiXIE SOLO cups stared me down. I picked them up, the weight of them almost bringing me to my knees. I went to the self-check out (a very lonely place at 1 a.m.) and scanned each item checking my cart for any items left behind. All I saw was my heart, lifeless and barely pulsating….  according to B it wasn’t worth much… so I left it there at checkout #8 quivering on the conveyor belt. After bagging my necessities, I headed out the door with my twin-sized blow up mattress. It sat high in my cart advertising my new single status like a Vegas neon sign to the homeless man and his dog sitting at the cart return.

Two days later I felt stronger and headed down the mountain to Goodwill. There I found some 1980’s juice glasses, a variety of mis-matched silverware, and a nice set of four matching bowls. This I could do. It made my departure a little more real but not so real as to overwhelm me. This GONE thing was becoming more doable. Yet, I am homesick…missing my children and feeling guilty for “Abandoning” them…when I really haven’t.

Three days later I was feeling even stronger and more sure of my decision then ever. I was contemplating buying a matching set of dishes at a store a step up from Goodwill. The fact that a complete set of dishes is now a thought although not yet a reality is encouraging. For picking out a set of dishes signifies permanence to me and I have not felt quite ready to admit defeat. But each day I am stepping out and dipping my big toe a little deeper into my new life. It is a re-birth and it takes time. And this time around I want to craft a life for myself that is purposeful and meaningful in all areas of my existence…emotional, physical and spiritual. And while Goodwill is a good place to start this adventure… I know I do not want to begin with the left-overs of others. This time I will choose exactly what I need and want to nurture myself and my new beginning. I deserve to give this time to myself and I will. For I am worth it.

 

Gone Forever…Happy Birthday Mom

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Today would have been my mother’s 84th birthday. She only lived to celebrate her 50th.

For years I was sure that I would not live to see my 50th birthday (we had the same freckles, you know). I spent my 50th year in mild fear, fairly certain I would not live to celebrate my 51st or see my children reach adulthood. After I reached my 51st birthday plus one day, I calmed down. It was if making that milestone lifted most of my fears about dying young. I was relieved and it showed.

My mother died of lung cancer. She never smoked a day in her life. I just had genetic testing down which showed I was at a greater risk of lung cancer. Same with my oldest daughter. And while it is a little disconcerting I am glad to know about this increased risk so I can do the things that are necessary to watch for any early signs that may come along. Lung cancer is cruel and I will do what I need to in order to try and beat the odds of ever having it.

My mom died young. Besides all the wisdom I missed out on it still saddens me that she never knew my husband nor seven out of her eight grandchildren. She never had the opportunity to be the mother of the bride at both of her daughter’s weddings. We never shared adult stories nor did we get to explore what an adult relationship between the two of us would look like. I wonder what she would have said about how I have lived my life and what advice she would have given me concerning my marriage. I wish I knew. I would give just about everything I own to find out. Funny how her opinion is still so important.

When I see mothers and daughters at odds with each other it saddens me. I wish they could understand that there is a hole that opens up in your heart when you no longer have a mother to shop with, eat with, or share stories with. Thirty four years later the missing still hurts. Thirty four years gone and I still wish i could call her and have a few heart-to-hearts. I wish I could smell her perfume and see her in that green dress again. I would love to hear her sing and play the piano for my family. Just once.

Those of you with moms still on earth… try to be kind. Treat them well. It is hard being a mom and trying to live up to all the expectations society puts on mothers…having: perfect kids, pies, hair, gorgeous body, happy husband, no wrinkles, Able to: cook, change her own oil, keep a household running and looking magazine cover ready at all times, be a sex pot and a taxicab driver… all at the same time.

Most of all call your mom…today. You never know for sure if you will ever see her again. Treat her as if you won’t.

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Marine Layer-10 Minute Poem Challenge

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The Marine Layer

Sleeps out past the shore

Creating a demarcation

Where the horizon meets the sea

It is a layer of dense, still clouds

Which lay alongside each other

In protective layers

Like you and me

Bonded together in the same place

At the same time

With an invisible line

That keeps us

One from the other

 

Dark and gloomy

You are and will ever be

Waiting for the darkness of night

When you can come

Back to the land

Unnoticed and unseen

Except for me

Waiting in a life raft

To pull you out of yourself….

And your self-imposed middle-aged crisis

 

Alas, I cannot reach you

Because the glow from the prism

Of the lighthouse

Is extinguished

Leaving a rudderless craft

Which bangs against the sharp rocks

Of your soul

A piece of you

That wants to see my boat

Splinter into a thousand wooden toothpicks

So that I drown in the light-less waters

Of your silent cruelty

Which wants to live alone

Or just without me

 

Route 66 Or Flat Tire Soul-A 10 Minute Poem Challenge

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The sadness I feel

Circles the earth three times

And travels from Illinois

Straight into my strangled heart

Like old Route 66

Following towns that have died

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Their 1940’s hotels

Deceased

With doors opened wide

And nothing left in those vacant rooms

But tarnished dreams

And a solitary piece of Wrigley’s gum

Which shall remain for eternity

Because it is non-biodegradable

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Next door pieces of theRoy’s diner sign

Remain

Paint peeling blood-red

The only thing left

Of Roy… Born in Brooklyn resting in Boot Hill

Is that dilapidated sign

Promising hot flapjacks

Slathered in broken dreams

Which you can find spilled along the highway

Today my heart looks like old Rt. 66

Full of potholes

Beer bottles littering the road

And tumbleweeds which barrel across

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This empty stretch of wasteland

Which held so much promise

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And like a once beautiful lady

Turned old, calloused and slightly bitter

Sitting on the porch of her

1950’s trailer

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Roof about to cave in

Sides sand blasted by years

Of exposure

I look towards the dark clouds

Gathering in the east

Wondering whether the storm in my heart

Will unleash a torrent of tears

Or if there are no longer

Any drops left to fall

For a deep unrelenting sadness

Seems to be percolating

Across the plains of my heart

Depressing any movement

Out of this hell hole

And like a useless old tire

A nail driven deep into it

I sit idle and unable to travel farther

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Along this old road

Which runs from Chicago to LA

And ends here

Somewhere near Bakersfield

On the corner of

Lost and Hope Streets

My heart split in two

Like this road

Which leads to the dreams of the dead

And to my future

Which lays in the middle of no where

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Woodie

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He arrives home.

“I am not sure I want a divorce. i just need to be honest about my feelings. How I feel about you. Maybe like an alcoholic I need to hit bottom, tell you how I feel so I can move up and find that love for you again. It may take 6 months, it may take two years. I don’t know but I want to feel like we did when we met 30 years ago.”

The next day after many painful gut-wrenching talks.

He says: “My therapist says that maybe you should move out for 30 days. Why should it be me?”

She says: “I’m sorry. When you are the one wanting a divorce there are consequences for that. You don’t just get to go on it life like everything is okay and you are still entitled.”

Later that night

He would like a kiss goodnight. I would like one too. He thinks if he can just feel like he did 30+ years ago when we met everything will be okay. He truly believes that we can feel that youthful excitement and that every kiss will bring fireworks.

I kiss him

“Fireworks?” he asks.

“Nothing” I reply.

“I’ve got a woodie. I felt the fireworks.”

I don’t even know what to say about that. A woodie. What am I suppose to do about that? I am at a total loss.

Am I suppose to have sex with you in hopes of bringing us closer or am I suppose to not have sex because you tell me you no longer have “the love and passion to sustain a relationship.” Great sex is the one of the things we have shared all these years but it feels too painful now.

I guess to me sex has become very sacred, much more so than when I was young. When I was young sex was casual, free and everyone was doing it. Not any longer. Now it is meaningful to me. I put my heart and soul into it. Into pleasing one another.  It is one thing that is a miracle. Great sex after all these years. Yet, if you no longer have love or passion for me then you might as well just hire a hooker to please you because it feels like it is on the same level to me.

What am I to say to this? You want me to love you anyways? Still give you my heart and soul even though you will not give me yours?

What am I suppose to do with this? A broken relationship that you say you want to repair that I have worked on for two years and no matter what I have done it is not enough. I lose weight. I stop yelling. I keep a clean house. Everything you wanted and still I am not good enough. I am not enough for you.

What am I suppose to do with you? Love you until the very end or stop now to save my soul?

I have lost hope. If I keep trying, I give up my right to be a woman scorned because if I keep trying I do it knowing full well that the chances are not good for us to remain together. Perhaps I want to keep a little of that title. It provides a little measure of comfort though what I would do with it I cannot say but somehow that title just doesn’t appeal to me. A better one might be A Woman Better Off Without You.

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P.S. Thank you to all my friends who have rode my crazy merry-go-round for the past 2 years. I know it has wrung you out just as it has me. I know that you are as weary of this as I am. But thanks for hanging in for me. It helps knowing that you are there.

 

 

Past The Depths Of Hell

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I’ve been past the depths of hell

These last 18 months

Changing myself

And trying to make you happy

You have happily filleted my heart

Scraping out my innards

As you lifted my soul out of my middle-aged body

And held it up for the world to see

I’ve been past the depths of hell

Down further than one

Ought to go without proper diving gear

I’ve been awash on a sea of tears

That could have floated an ocean liner

Tears of sorrow, frustration, and anger

A body dragged across the sandy floor

Leaving raw, mangled meat

Hanging on the bone

The shark circling in for the kill

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I’ve been past the depths of hell

Losing myself while trying to please you

Carrying your burdens first

While dragging mine behind

Sleepless nights

Etching my face with fine lines

I look like I’ve aged 18 years

Instead of 18 months

I’ve been past the depths of hell

I mourn what was

I mourn what is to come

I mourn for our innocent children

I mourn for our marriage

Which was only an illusion

Like you-illusionist

Like me-the mind reader

You settling for something

You knew you didn’t want

Along time ago

But didn’t have the guts to say what

You needed or wanted

Until the resentments rose up

And rolled the ship under

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I’ve been past the depths of hell

And I’ve going down for another dive

But this time when I surface

I will be all alone

And divorce will bear my name

Holding onto my tattered mind

And a body that spent

Thirty years

Loving you

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One Of THOSE Posts

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This weekend our cousin died in an automobile accident. She was 29 years-old, newly married, and had a three year-old daughter. For her family it is a tragedy that defies understanding or words. For her husband and daughter it is incomprehensible loss in which parts of their lives will never be able to be restored. For the rest of us it has shaken us to the marrow of our being because we have lost such a wonderful woman which just reinforces how fleeting life can be. How random things are. How we really never know when our number is up and how scary that can be.

Sometimes I wonder that if you knew you had 24 hours to live whether it would be a good thing or a bad one?  Would it be wonderful to have the time to say your goodbyes, express your love, and to impart your wisdom? Would death be a tad scary if it all boiled down to 1440 minutes? Would being surrounded by loved ones make that fear disappear?

Obviously, V didn’t know she would die on Saturday. She woke up happy and carefree after having a date night with her husband. Life was looking good as she was going to pick up her daughter from her mother’s house.  And then, just like that, she rounded a curve and she was gone.

Did she leave the house planting a kiss on her husbands check? Does her husband wish he had if he didn’t? And how often have I left my house irritated instead of in a loving mood? What would my family’s last impression of me be the majority of the times that I have stepped outside of my front door? Would they have the good to remember or the bad? Would they feel guilty for the rest of their lives because our last words were not the words we would have said if we had known that they were the last words we would ever say to one another? It gives me pause to think about the ending of life in this way.

And so, yes, this is one of THOSE posts. A gentle reminder that we never really know when our time is up. A “go hug your kids” kind of post. Have sex with your spouse kind of post. A wake-up call to phone your mother. A take out the trash because you love your dad post. It is a post that calls attention to the fact that what we do today really does matter because it may be the last thing we are remembered by the people that mean the most to us.

Amen (so be it)

 

Suffering

When my therapist says, “Love doesn’t mean you won’t suffer,” I gulp. Hard. For this isn’t what love is suppose to be. I grew up with the promise of the movie Love Story…love until the end of time that went hand-in-hand with the often quoted  “Love Means…Never Having To Say You’re Sorry!” I find myself wondering where did the ideals of the 70’s go and how do we get them back?

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The definition of suffering is

suf·fer
ˈsəfər/
verb
1.
experience or be subjected to (something bad or unpleasant).
“he’d suffered intense pain”

2. To tolerate, put up with, or endure

 

Frankly, I don’t remember saying any of those words in my wedding vows. I mean, who would willingly stand up and say “I promise to tolerate, put up with, and endure life with you throughout all of our days” in front of God and our loved ones? Seriously!
Instead, the vows we most often robotically repeat go something like this:
“I, ___, take you, ___, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”
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Frankly, when most of us marry we really do not have the experience in to understand what those vows really mean and how they will impact us at some point in our lives. Most likely we haven’t been through better or worse yet; we haven’t done the for richer thing yet; and hopefully the sickness and in health part is something we don’t truly know about until we are very, very old. It would appear that vows don’t have a lot of meaning unless you suffer. Really suffer and emerge intact.
So after 30 years our love/marriage is suffering. Greatly. The “for WORSE” part of our vows has kicked in and I’m not even sure how to return to “the BETTER” part. Where is the road map to re-negotiating your place in your marriage after a lifetime of habits and relating to one another in certain ways?
If I am honest, suffering has never seemed like a particularly noble thing to do. I had so many terminally ill patients whose families seemed to believe that keeping their loved ones alive, even though they were suffering tremendously, was somehow important and noble. Calling a CODE in which everything is done to save someone’s life when they are terminal is cruel. I see nothing noble in suffering and I am convinced that the lessons learned are not important enough to endure all the pain.
Therefore, if suffering is part of love I guess I am lucky not to have done much of it up until this point. Yet, I also realize at some point the suffering has to end. I am just hoping we can reach the “for BETTER” part before a CODE is called and our marriage has flat lined.
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Lost At Sea

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We are all sailors on the sea. We are told that we are captains of our own ships. We have the ability to sink our vessels or fight the high winds and 30 ft squalls to bring ourselves into port safely.I used to think this anyway. With this “maybe divorce” looming I am not so sure that I am my own captain anymore. Unfortunately, it appears that I let someone else take my wheel and they are slowly taking me down with my own ship.

For numerous years I have been lucky. The storms that have hit my married life have been small and few.They have been manageable and by hoisting a few sails we swiftly left those muddy ripples and sailed into calm waters. But should we have? Should we have taken every escape that came available to us instead of staying in the deep seas and bailing the waters that might capsize us? In fighting mother nature do you learn lessons about togetherness and working as a team that we missed by spending our time in spring showers rather than hurricanes? Maybe we would have known what to do when this single but mighty hurricane hit had we fought more side-by-side battles while at sea.

You would think I would know what to do. That surviving at sea would be in my blood; for I come from a long line of fishermen. Strong, brave folk who fought the weather and the ocean creatures to eek out a living stuffing cod into barrels. More than half of those men died young leaving young widows and children behind. Their names decay on plaques that dot the landscape in fishing towns throughout Canada and New England. They were Lost At Sea and so am I. Wheelless and rudderless I am sucked down into the riptides of a marriage that knows not where it’s going, but if it sinks, will ultimately leave the children behind and washed over by sadness.

Yet today, I refuse to abandon ship, standing by the captain as the waves wash over us. And I am scared, wet and shivering with buckets of tears rolling down my face, the saltwater stinging my skin, and I am, wanting for one brief second, just to feel the warmth that used to be an everyday part of my life envelop me once more.

Finally I pray… like most cowards looking into the eyes of the scary unknown…wanting some sort of guarantee that it all was for naught and there is some sort of salvation in the end.

“Our Father…” I begin, my teeth chattering…seawater filling my lungs as the waves toss me… separating me from the captain… slowly taking me under… and then… finally a long way away.

*All posts are copyrighted 2016 and may not be used without the consent of the author*

 

Sex… And On Being A COLD B****

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Okay, I leave for Tibet/Mt. Everest on Monday. I am still terrified of going. Why? I have no clue. I have traveled so many places and never have I experienced the sense of doom I have regarding this trip. In fact, this sense of death is so foreboding that I gave my girlfriend my password to my blog with instructions on what to write should something bad come to pass. If I could, I would up the amount on my life insurance too but at my age that would take a overnight fast, a blood draw and numerous other personal questions that I would have to lie about should I be asked. And just to make this absolutely clear…this sense of doom has NOTHING to do with B… just airplanes, icy goat roads that when you look down its 1000 ft to the bottom, freak snow storms and COLD. BITTER COLD.COLD SO COLD that a word hasn’t been invented for it yet.

So what does one take to Everest in the middle of winter? Who the hell knows… but I have come to suspect that a dash of crazy is probably useful if not mandatory. Better yet…a jigger of vodka which you are cautioned not to drink (makes the altitude sickness worse). Yet, if pressed, I would have to say that the most important thing about being at the Everest Base Camp in the middle of winter is for you to be warm NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES. Unfortunately, if the past dictates the present, one might say that when I am cold I revert to the personality of a full-on bitchy badger. Yep, where I am concerned: cold =trouble=misery=down-low-bitchy-self.

Since we are going on this trip to celebrate the fact that we have managed to stay together despite B’s pronouncement that he might want a divorce back in July; I have decided that in order to remain married I will need to convince myself that I am in the middle of the desert when in fact I am in the middle of a snow storm with air so thin that just taking in oxygen wears you down and out. So to keep the peace and to promote harmony and ditto that “good will” stuff; I have invested an obscene amount of warm weather gear and “feel-good-about-going” stuff including:

  • One warm -40 weather degree parka from Land’s End snagged for $136 on sale (not sexy)
  • A blacava (sexy in a bank-robbing-bad-girl sort of way)
  • 2 pairs of light thermals in black (sexy…black makes me look 10 pounds thinner)
  • 2 pairs of arctic thermals (sexy if you are a bear)
  • 1 fleece lined pair of pants/shirt (sexy if your mate is a sasquatch)
  • 1 pair of mens polar arctic under your pants wear (sexy if your mate is a gay man and he thinks you are too)
  • 5 pairs of heavy socks (I’m too sexy for my socks!)
  • 1 pair down mittens that have proven not to keep me warm at night in the middle of the CA desert (might prove useful for certain hand work)
  • A second pair of special hand mittens to fit in said down mittens (sexy for that more intricate hand work)
  • 5 paris of chemical hand warmers (I’ll let you see mine if you let me see yours)
  • 5 large patch body warmers (I need to check if there is a warning on where NOT to put them)
  • 5 pairs of chemical foot warmers (for playing footsie)
  • special caches of toilet paper (come on… my world would cease to exist in a meaningful way without the stuff and I would NEVER shake your hand without knowing there is some around)
  • thing-a-ma-jigs that you put over your boots so you can walk safely on ice (hmmmmm…new sex toy?)
  •  I am trying to find waterproofing for my boots (which would be sexy if you sprayed it all over your body and jumped in a pool)
  • Three accidental life insurance policies (sexy if you are the beneficiary)
  • One evacuate you out on a helicopter insurance policy (sexy if you are doubled over in pain and know there a good drugs when you land)
  • One foreign hospitalization policy (sexy in certain countries)
  • One water bottle with water filter (clean water is sexy water)
  • Various antibiotics, car sickness pills and stop-the-poop pills of various sizes and colors
  • A small diary to write a note to my children should the need arise (not sexy but isn’t anything involving your children is anything but sexy)

 

There. Now you know all the thinking that has been involved for the past three weeks and if you saw me with all this warm wear on you would think I look like an terrifying 300 pound arctic snow beast. Even worse for B, there is no such thing as sexy lingerie that comes in flannel, down or polar fleece.

Frankly, what I have come to realize is that this was an impulse vacation for the hubby and I don’t think B thought this whole thing through. If he wanted sex (which he always does) I would have thought he would have picked a deserted island with a clothing optional theme but Everest in the winter…in a tent or monastery…well, I would have to guess that his chances are about as good as when hell freezes over. Sexy and Everest…they just don’t fit together…and it is doubtful that we will either!

*** Oh…Happy Birthday, Mom. Ironic that I would be posting this on a blog that has B**** in the title because you never were one. Not once. You were a kind gentle soul who suffered much heartbreak over your short 50 years. Hard to believe you have been gone 30 years now. At times I still miss you desperately but rest assured  when a smile still lights up my face I am most probably thinking of you. Gone but never forgotten.***

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